Mike Scott Photo
With his sixth-place finish last night, Maalik Reynolds of Penn apparently opened the Heps’ All-America floodgates as three more Ivy Leaguers earned All-America plaudits at the NCAA Championships in Des Moines, Iowa, on Friday.
The top story, perhaps, is Harvard’s Nico Weiler hitting a huge milestone, clearing 5.50 meters (18-0 1/2) for fourth place. With his clearance, he becomes just the second Ivy Leaguer to attach the 18-foot barrier on his resume. The first was the late Mamadou Johnson of Penn, who cleared 18-1 1/4 at the 1993 Outdoor Heps.
Weiler becomes the first Ivy Leaguer to twice earn top-eight finishes in the event at the NCAA Outdoor Championships and his fourth-place performance is the highest for Heps’ vaulter since Yale’s George Appel was tied for second in 1950 with a 14-0 clearance.
Steeplechaser Alexi Pappas took third in the national final tonight, finishing her rounds in 10:01.20. It matches the highest finish ever by a Big Green female as Abbey D’Agostino (2011) and Maribel Sanchez (1995), each took third in the 5,000m. D’Agostino will get her chance to top Pappas’ placing in Saturday’s 5k final.
Pappas also matched the highest finish ever for an Ivy Leaguer in the women’s steeple, joining Olympic hopeful Ashley Higginson, who was third in 2010. Cornell’s Genna Hartung finished 13th in tonight’s chase.
Third is Princeton sophomore Damon McLean, who was eighth in the triple jump with a wind-aided effort of 16.03 (52-7 1/4). While the Ivy League has had two recent triple champs (Rayon Taylor and Muhammad Halim, both of Cornell, in 2007 and 2008), it was Princeton’s first top-10 effort in the event since Mel Branch was eighth in 1965. Branch would later earn his Ph.D. from the University of California and become a distinguished professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Colorado.
The men’s 5,000-meter run featured two Ivy Leaguers and both performed well — Brown’s Dan Lowry finishing 11th in 14:00.04 and Princeton’s Joe Stilin 14th in 14:03.76. The race was won by Southern Utah’s Cam Levins, who also won the 10k on Wednesday night. That’s an amazing double.